Alma 16:14-16, LeGrand Baker, Mormon’s conclusion to Alma’s story.

Alma 16:14-16, LeGrand Baker, Mormon’s conclusion to Alma’s story.

14 And as many as would hear their words, unto them they did impart the word of God, without any respect of persons, continually.
15 And thus did Alma and Amulek go forth, and also many more who had been chosen for the work, to preach the word throughout all the land. And the establishment of the church became general throughout the land, in all the region round about, among all the people of the Nephites.
16 And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming

With the conclusion of chapter 16, Mormon ties a nice bow around this portion of the story of Alma. From here, Mormon will do a flashback and tell us about the adventures of the sons of Mosiah.

These chapters in Alma’s life are about his success as president and prophet of the Church, but they also demonstrate that Mormon is an accomplished historian as well as a master storyteller.

As an historian, he has not only taught us about the adventures of Alma, but he has also carried Alma through the full-cycle of the cosmic myth, showing that Alma’s story is an example of how the Lord’s purposes are accomplished when we fulfil our part of the program.

The book of Alma began by explaining that even though the members of the church were a persecuted minority, the faithful among them esteemed each other as equals and blessed each other’s lives.

26 And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.
27 And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.
28 And thus they did establish the affairs of the church; and thus they began to have continual peace again, notwithstanding all their persecutions (Alma 1:26-28).

Then trouble sets in and sense of equality based on mutual esteem has dissipated. Mormon reports,

12 Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted…..
15 And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful; nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him (Alma 4:12, 15).

It is in response of this lack of mutual esteem, which is symptomatic of the members of the Church not keeping their covenants, that causes Alma to go on his extended missionary journey. It is significant that, unlike the sons of Mosiah who taught non-members, Alma directed his mission toward the Nephites who were (or who claimed to be) followers of the Saviour. He began in Zarahemla. Alma 5 records a compelling sermon in which he quotes several of the psalms that were the text of the drama of their temple service. By doing so, he drew sharp contrast between the covenants they had made and the way they were not living those covenants.

Alma 7 is a sermon he delivered at a priesthood meeting that emphasized those covenants to people who were living them more faithfully than the people of Zarahemla. Then he went among the people who had perverted them entirely. Alma 8 through 14 are about his confrontation with the people of Ammonihah. . In chapter 12 he reminds them of their covenants and of the consequences of their not keeping them. In chapters 14 and 15 Mormon teaches us that those consequences are as real as the blessings to the righteous.

Now Mormons rounds out the whole story by reporting that trough Alma’s work all of the Nephites had become faithful to their covenants and there was no inequality among them.

14 And as many as would hear their words, unto them they did impart the word of God, without any respect of persons, continually.
15 And thus did Alma and Amulek go forth, and also many more who had been chosen for the work, to preach the word throughout all the land. And the establishment of the church became general throughout the land, in all the region round about, among all the people of the Nephites.
16 And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming (Alma 16:14-16,).

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